Homeowners are becoming increasingly supportive of adding ADUs, accessory dwelling units, in their neighborhoods, not building new apartments.

Survey Indicates Homeowners Support Modest Efforts to Increase Number of Housing Units

A recent Zillow survey of 12,000 adults in more than 20 US metro areas found that more than 75% of adults would support low-intensity proposals to add more housing units in residential neighborhoods.

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What does “low-intensity” proposals include?  Duplexes, triplexes and ADUs (accessory dwelling units or mother-in law units).

Homeowners Remain Hesitant to Support In-Neighborhood Apartment Construction

Manny Garcia, a Zillow population scientist, said, “We are facing a housing crisis that’s touched most communities across the country, pushing housing affordability to the center of the conversation for many.  One of the most effective ways out of this crisis is to build more homes.”

Although 57% of survey responding adults indicated they would accept apartment construction in their neighborhood, homeowners within the neighborhood would be less inclined to do so.  In fact, fewer than half of homeowners would support a small-to-medium-sized apartment building where they live despite 63% of those same homeowners knowing that apartments positively impact affordability.

Renters Would Welcome More Apartments

In contrast to homeowners, 72% of renters would welcome a new apartment building in their neighborhood.  An even greater majority of renters, 76% of renters, believe more apartments positively impact affordability.

Homeowners Warming Up to Low-Intensity Housing Options

Homeowners have the power in neighborhoods via their tax dollars; renters do not.  Homeowners decide which housing options are approved and funded in their neighborhoods via local zoning laws; renters do not.

Though homeowners remain reluctant to allow even small-to-mid-sized apartment buildings in their neighborhoods, they are increasingly saying okay to allowing individual owners putting up accessory dwelling units, ADU’s or mother-in-law units, on their existing properties.

This shift towards more housing options within neighborhoods is significant.  In 2019, Zillow found that 57% of homeowners believed adding housing units in the form of detached units or duplexes ought to be allowable.  Now, 66% of homeowners support detached ADUs and 55% indicate they would allow duplexes and triplexes.  Overall, homeowner support for additional housing options within their neighborhoods has jumped to 64%.

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